Ask any fine dining steakhouse restaurateur or chef what the biggest challenge is for them, and right at the top of almost everyone’s list will be procuring the finest beef, on a steady basis. For home cooks, and especially grill aficionados, finding a local butcher who can specifically tell you what particular ranch or set of ranches the beef originated from, and if the product is free-range, organic, steroid- and antibiotic-free, is important—and plays a direct role in how tender and flavourful your favourite cuts will be. For that ultimate special occasion, or as a fantastic gift idea, even, there is Fuego Diablo, a company that sources, packages, and sends directly to your door the very best beef on this continent and beyond.
Founded by Matthew MacQuarrie, the company sources the meats, brings them to its home base in Halifax, and ages and cuts them before shipping. MacQuarrie was born and raised in Cape Breton, but his first experiences in New York City steakhouses ignited a passion he never relinquished. He finally quit his day job and started Fuego Diablo to satiate the never-ending steak connoisseur’s search for the perfect cut.
There is a wide variety of ordering options, and all items are sent out in handsome boxes, frozen and packed with dry ice. Instructions for defrosting are simple and efficient, and each shipment comes with a proviso: cook the meat unadorned, without any sauces or spices. Rather, the best result is to taste the meat truly as it is. (Admittedly, a little olive oil rub and a touch of sea salt is never a bad idea. And some folks insist on putting a little melted butter on the meat as it sits, cooked, resting before serving.) The steak is velvety on the palate, and nearly fulfills the “cut it with a fork” cliché. But the most important thing is how complex, layered, and rich the flavours are. It is like a re-invention, a new understanding of what great beef actually tastes like.
The product comes from select ranches in Alberta, Colorado, and Texas, as well as Japan. Prices are not cheap, but when you put the taste-to-dollar ratio into play, these are worth every penny; and in an era when we are all, wisely, limiting our red meat intake, why not make your smaller consumption pattern reward you with fantastic taste and texture? With Fuego Diablo that is assured, each and every time.